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Pickering Actor Takes Centre Stage

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Brittany Gray plays Sarah in “The Toxic Avenger

News Durham Region Oct 15, 2009
by Izabela Jaroszvnski

PICKERING — When Brittany Gray first read the script for The Toxic Avenger, it was her character’s comedic quality that she identified with the most.

“Sarah is the love interest in The Toxic Avenger. I fell in love with her right away,” the 23-year-old Pickering native said. “She’s got a great personality, is very upbeat and spunky. And she is actually very funny. I really loved that about her.”

The Toxic Avenger, opening on Oct. 31 at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall, is the story of a man trying to clean up the most polluted town in New Jersey. When he is dumped into a vat of radioactive toxic waste by his enemies, he emerges as the Toxic Avenger — New Jersey’s first superhero.

Gray plays Sarah, a beautiful blind librarian who captures the superhero’s heart.

“It is a challenge,” Ms. Gray said about playing a blind character. “You have to really use your ears and react to everything you hear.”

But Gray is no stranger to taking on challenging roles. In her decade-long career, she has pushed herself to continually take on roles that will challenge her in both the acting and the musical realm.

“It is easy to shy away from what you think you are not good at, but you have to work on your weaknesses to get better,” she said.

She got her first taste of the industry in the Oscar-Award winning movie Chicago, where she was a dancer at the age of 15.

Since then, Gray has gone on to perform in the Tony-Award winning musical The Producers by Mel Brooks, the Queen musical We Will Rock You and films such as Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Eloise at the Plaza and Once Upon a Mattress. She also landed a lead role on the television series Aaron Stone. Gray’s most recent role is in the move Amelia, which stars Hillary Swank and Richard Gere.

Quite the resume for someone who is just 23.

“The most important thing is to really surround yourself with people who believe in you,” she said. “I’ve been very lucky in that regard.

While Gray said she enjoys working in both film and theatre, she finds them each challenging in their own way.

With film, it is all very technical, she said. You have to pick up the same prop, the same way for each take.

“It’s very rigid in that sense,” she added.

Theatre is much more liberating, but also has its challenges — no second chances if you get it wrong.

“You get immediate feedback from the audience,” she said.

But whether she is singing, dancing or acting, Ms. Gray said the past 10 years have been a dream come true.

“This is my passion, what moves me,” she said. “This is what makes my heart go pitter-patter. This is what I do for no other reason than the fact that I love it.”